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Death in Paradise’s Darlene pays tribute to ‘brilliant’ Les Dennis

Death in Paradise: Ralf Little on Les Dennis' guest appearance

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Death in Paradise returned to BBC One for a festive special and the series is known and loved for its A-list guest stars. Actor and presenter Les Dennis starred as psychic Danny Sheridan after undergoing a major transformation. Darlene star Ginny Holder praised the newcomer for his performance.

Viewers were left in awe after spotting an almost unrecognisable Les Dennis in the Christmas special.

He died his blond hair dark brown for his role as one of the prime suspects in the latest murder mystery.

Fans flocked to social media after realising who the star really was.

Les said he was “surprised” by his transformation, telling press: “Whenever I play a different character, I will sometimes change the way I look.

“But I suppose it was the black hair of Danny Sheridan… kind of deranged Jack Nicholson, I think, how can you get more deranged than Jack Nicholson anyway?”

His major transformation did not go unnoticed as the rest of the cast could not believe the difference.

Darlene actress Ginny called her co-star an “amazing” actor, adding: “Les is a workhorse and he’s brilliant.

“He’s one of those old school actors who’s got everything down pat.

“He’s also generous with his stories and experience, so it was a real treat and complete honour working with him. He’s beautifully genuine.”

Speaking of his character she added: “He was a slippery fish and quite confrontational.

“Darlene found him quite a challenge. She’s just helping out, and so doesn’t have all the power as the rest of the team to deal with the situation fully.”

Les went on to explain how a lot of effort went into inhabiting the character.

He added: “There was more to it than just dying his hair and layering on plenty of fake tan.

“He had to be careful not to sweat it off under the blazing Guadelope sun, the backdrop of the show’s fictional St Marie island.

“It was [a lot of maintenance], I didn’t have a hair dye that was permanent. They would do it in the morning. So I would need to be in makeup for about an hour and a half.”

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When he had finished filming for the day, he would take a shower to wash the hair dye out as it was very dark.

He said it was “tricky” to get out and although he loved the transformation at first, he admitted he didn’t realise it would be so extreme.

The 69-year-old presenter, actor and comedian is best known for hosting Family Fortunes from 1987 until 2002.

He started off his career as a comedian before moving on to theatre and then film and TV.

The star’s other guest credits include Midsomer Murders, Birds of a Feather and Coronation Street.

He has also starred in Holby City, Hotel Babylon, The Bill and Brookside.

Death in Paradise will return to BBC One for season 12 on January 6, with Ralf Little returning as Neville Parker.

He may continue his new romance with Sophie Chambers (Chelsea Edge) after she accepted his invitation for a Christmas dinner date.

The Death in Paradise Christmas special is on BBC iPlayer, with the series returning on January 6.

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